The Secretary of State to Representative Michael A. Feighan, of Ohio1

My Dear Mr. Feighan: I have, by reference from the White House, your letter of April 16, 19472 concerning correspondence which you have received relating to the sentence imposed upon Monsignor Joseph Tiso, former President of Slovakia.

Although the execution of Dr. Tiso has now taken place, I should like to call to your attention certain facts, the knowledge of which may be of assistance to you in replying to the persons who have written you in his behalf.

In accordance with United States policy regarding nationals of United Nations accused of assisting or collaborating with the enemy, Dr. Tiso and fourteen other Slovak officials were apprehended by United States Military authorities and released to representatives of the Czechoslovak Government upon its request.3 This was done with the concurrence of the Department of State, in whose judgment sufficient grounds existed for judicial investigation of these men to be made by the country of which they were nationals.

In this connection, it may be recalled that the former Slovak State was established following the destruction of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 and was closely associated with Nazi Germany until the restoration of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1945. Whatever pressure may have been brought to bear upon Dr. Tiso by Germany, the fact remains that he was President of the Independent Slovak State and joined the Berlin–Rome–Tokyo alliance on November 24, 1940. In addition, the records of his trial show indisputably that he agreed to the Slovak declaration of war on this country and the United Kingdom on December 12, 1941. It may here be pointed out that, according to reports from our Embassy in Prague, Dr. Tiso’s trial was conducted in a fair manner.

Dr. Tiso was tried with the full consent of the Slovak National Council, which represents the people of Slovakia and which, on the basis of the May 26, 1946 elections, does not contain a Communist majority.

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In as much as the United States recognizes the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia and due to Dr. Tiso’s public record and the fact that this Government has not intervened in the trials of nationals of other United Nations conducted since the close of the war, it was felt that intervention in the affairs of Czechoslovakia in an effort to set aside the verdict of a properly constituted court of that country could not be undertaken.

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Durward V. Sandifer

Acting Legislative Counsel
  1. Similar letters were addressed to Representatives Ray J. Madden, of Indiana, and Edwin A. Hall, of New York, in response to inquiries they had made regarding Tiso.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Tiso and 14 other high officials in the so-called “Slovak State” held in the custody of United States occupation forces in Germany were turned over to Czechoslovak authorities in November 1945. For documentation regarding the surrender of these officials, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iv, p. 525.